Recently, we discussed how traditional app development is quickly losing its appeal to low and no code options as enterprise IT races to catch up to the demand for mobile apps from business users. The traditional app development processes that long required IT departments to have an army of developers with extensive coding skills and backgrounds is quickly being replaced with code free programming tools, such as rapid mobile app development (RMAD) platforms.

With these low-to-no code options comes the rise of the citizen developer, or a user who creates new business mobile apps without a technical background. The citizen developer may not be able to perform all tasks necessary to develop an app, but can work together with their business’ IT team to build customized code when necessary. This concept originated out of shadow IT, a practice where employees use technology that has not been approved or deployed by their organization. Instead of IT departments resisting this attempt, they have turned to these citizen developers to harness efforts that can ultimately benefit the business.

The citizen developer is usually a business analyst who has departmental knowledge, but is removed from software and application development. While they may not have the technical skills of IT, they know the business challenges that the organization can solve with mobile apps.

Why Do IT and Citizen Developers Need Each Other? 

According to a report from Gartner, market demand for mobile apps will outstrip IT’s organizations’ capacity to deliver them five to one by the end of this year. The use of low-to-no code platforms enable citizen developers to assist IT with the design and development of simple, task-based micro-apps that enable significant productivity and usability gains but, are not the most pressing nor require heavy lifting by IT. However, for mission-critical or as we call them “super apps” that require integrations with multiple legacy systems that organizations don’t have API’s into or are unable to access via source code and require customization to meet the deployments needs of the company, it is vital that these departments come together. Since the citizen developer understands the usability needs, using low-code platforms for the design of the workflows mitigates IT from this, and allows them to do the heavy lifting if needed.

When business users can take on the role of a citizen developer, they can mobilize simple but critical tools without having to add it to IT’s backlog of projects. Citizen developers can help by developing applications that lead to quick wins such as timesheet entry, expense reporting or approval processes that are not top of mind priorities for technical teams. This allows IT to focus on more complex application development.

IT can also work along side their citizen developers to prototype business apps, receive their input on what is needed to improve processes and ultimately, add value to the business. While citizen developers can help develop simple applications, test drive prototype apps and help IT deploy applications that address business challenges, they do not have the technical skills needed to complete integration of systems, maintenance, custom coding and security procedures.

This bimodal approach to developing apps tears down the walls between the user and IT, and opens an opportunity to get the data, capabilities, and user experiences the business needs, with the security, back-end control and visibility that IT requires.

Why Does The Enterprise Need IT and Citizen Developers Working Together?

Mobile apps that address specific business challenges can lead to quick wins for the business and positive recognition for IT. Traditional app development platforms are cumbersome and complicated for everyone, including the technical teams since it requires complex coding to develop multiple applications for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Newer and faster approaches such as rapid mobile app development empower IT and citizen developers to create apps together that can improve business processes. Apps that are designed using low-to-no code platforms can provide organizations with in-depth insights into the business while ensuring speed and security.

Close the Skill Gaps in Your Business

The rise of low-code and no-code development platforms is putting application creation capabilities in the hands of the least-tech-savvy user who doesn’t have a background in computer science. When these non-technical professionals work together with IT to design and deploy mobile apps tailored to their unique skill set, the organization can close the IT skills gap, while driving productivity. The laundry list of applications backlog that IT is always trying to tackle is dwindling with the help of the citizen developer, enabling a digital transformation in the workplace.

If your organization hasn’t considered how citizen developers can help drive innovation, now is a great time to examine how your business users can contribute new ideas to improve processes while working with IT to ensure proper security, connectivity and maintenance and for quick wins for your long-term mobile strategy.

To learn more about how PowWow Mobile’s SmartUX Platform can help your citizen developers and IT rapidly deliver simple but engaging mobile apps for your workforce with little to no code, watch the video below: